Tag Archives: running

Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon

7 May

Hello! As I type this, it is now 72 hours since I’ve finished the Flying Pig Half Marathon, and my legs are still sore! If there is one thing I can tell you about the Flying Pig it’s this: It’s pretty hilly.

But let’s rewind a bit. On Saturday, Zach and I woke up bright and early and hit the road for the three hour drive to Cincinnati. Our plan was to get there early and hit the zoo before checking into the hotel.   The weather was sunny and warm with a slight chill to the wind, which made it perfect zoo weather. When we were waiting in line to pay for our tickets, I was regretting not bringing my jacket, but once we were walking around I was fine.

I love the Cincinnati Zoo! That was my first time there, and it was a lot better than some others I have been to. The animals seemed more relaxed. I know there is a bit of controversy about the Zoo in general, but I can’t help but love it. 10333426_10100900153826733_2115547184449372019_o The tulips were beautiful!

Pregnant gorilla!

Pregnant gorilla!

10264138_10100900156960453_5110068198316271078_o

Just getting a drink….

 

I think this may be my favorite picture. The female gorilla's face is the best. That baby gorilla is 1.5 years old.

I think this may be my favorite picture. The female gorilla’s face is the best. That baby gorilla is 1.5 years old.

My favorite part of the zoo was probably the gorillas, followed closely by the giraffes. Their was a baby giraffe, but the line to see her was very long and you couldn’t get a good glimpse of her because she was inside a building, but once you got beyond the line, you saw the male giraffe out in the yard.

10348887_10100900163197953_8242699121234675895_o

Alien!

At some points, he was so close that I felt like I could reach out and touch him! I had never seen a giraffe up close before and my friend said it best: They look like aliens! It’s so neat to see an animal that looks nothing like any other animal you’ve seen before. I also really liked the polar bear. He was a distinguished gentleman:

Well, hello good sir!

Well, hello good sir!

I was so sad when it was time to leave! But the clock was ticking. I had to head to the Expo to pick up my bib. That’s when the nerves started. I was feeling incredibly nervous about the race. This was my first “big” race. Overall for all the events, there were over 36,000 participants! Once I grabbed my bib, we headed over to the Expo. One thing I was very grateful for was having my friend Shannon by my side. As nervous as I was, I might have had a heart attack if I didn’t have a friend there that I knew would be with me every step of the way!

Both of our husbands were taking the same picture so we were laughing because we didn't know who to look at!

Both of our husbands were taking the same picture so we were laughing because we didn’t know who to look at!

After the expo, we had some dinner and then Shannon and Ben headed to the hotel while Zach and I met up with some other friends at a bar called Arnold’s. This bar was voted one of the top ten bars in the country by Esquire Magazine and I could definitely see why! It is over 150 years old and has the best patio I’ve ever seen.

Not the best photo...

Not the best photo…

It was almost like we were sitting in a little French bistro or something. There was a jug band playing called the Cincinnati Flying Pigs, which seemed appropriate. However, I wasn’t able to stay long — I had to get to bed because I had an early wake up time! _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The race started at 6:30 AM, so Shannon and I set our alarms for 5. I had no trouble getting up (I never do on race day, the anticipation is too high), but my nerves were still going strong. I had my outfit out, so I put that on and proceeded to try to prep my IT band for the run. If I haven’t mentioned it, I have IT band pain on long runs for the past few years so I was trying everything I could to keep that at bay. I rolled out a bit, rubbed some topical pain relief on it and used an IT Band strap like this:

Spoiler alert: It didn’t really help at all. After that, we left the hotel and headed toward the starting line, which was a little less than a mile from our hotel. Our plan was to grab breakfast on our walk to the starting line, which was a huge rookie mistake. That would have been fine if the race had started at 8, but with a 6:30 start time there isn’t anything open to grab breakfast. We slowly made our way to the Millennium Hotel, where we had planned to meet up with a friend from Huntington who was doing the full marathon, so we just hoped they would have  something there –  I was thinking a vending machine with a soda and a granola bar would have worked for me! Luckily, when we got to the hotel, there was a makeshift breakfast bar in the lobby for race participants! Score!

Yum! Sugar!

Yum! Sugar!

Once we were fueled, we used the bathroom a couple of times (nerves!) and waited for Meghan to come down (she was staying at the Millennium).

Found her!

Found her! — Photo Courtesy of Meghan Elkins

Oh, and I should mention: Meghan wasn’t just running the full marathon, she also had done the 4-Way challenge, which means she ran a 5k AND a 10k on Saturday followed by the full marathon on Sunday — yeah, she’s pretty much a rock star. After parting ways with Meghan, Shannon and I headed toward the starting line.

Got a pretty sweet photo of the Cincy skyline on the way!

Got a pretty sweet photo of the Cincy skyline on the way!

Once we found the starting line, we walked and walked and walked trying to get to our corral (E). I have no idea what the proper way to get to your corral was, but people were climbing over the fences. I knew I would hurt myself trying that, so luckily somebody had opened up a gate at the E corral and we slipped in. There were so many people around us!

A sea of people!

A sea of people!

With that many people, I thought it would take us a long, long time to get to the starting line, but the race started really quickly once we were in our corral and once the sea of people started moving, before we knew it, we were at the starting line and started running.

One really cool thing about the Flying Pig is you get to run through two states.

That sign says Kentucky. I am not good at taking photos and running at the same time.

That sign says Kentucky. I am not good at taking photos and running at the same time.

 

Not long after crossing into Kentucky, we saw Meghan again! We thought that was pretty cool, so she took a photo. Then she told us that she was keeping a slow pace, so if she caught up with us again, she would make us run faster. I was glad not to see her again! Ha!

 

10174900_10102238699440429_3103804610464887859_n

Photo courtesy of Meghan Elkins

Shannon staying positive while crossing back into Ohio.

Shannon staying positive while crossing back into Ohio.

Ok, after getting back into Ohio, I kind of lost it. My IT band strap kept slipping (Pro tip: Don’t wear one of those on your bare skin. When you sweat, it slips right off). I could feel my IT band tightening up and I had to keep adjusting my strap. Plus, I could see those famous Flying Pig hills formulating in front of my face. I had to make Shannon stop to stretch a few times, and then we started the longest climb of my life.

Not kidding, you guys, I feel like we climbed a hill for 8 miles. I’m pretty sure it was 2.5-4 miles, but it was about 85% uphill. I was in tears and shouting curse words at one point. It was definitely not my best moment. Shannon kept me going, though! She’s amazing! I found myself being consumed by negative thoughts. I could feel the nagging pain in my IT band starting to bother me and the hills just didn’t end. It was rough. I could tell Shannon wasn’t struggling nearly as much as I was, and I knew it was the difference in our attitude, so basically I got myself through it by thinking about seeing my husband after the race, getting that medal, and drinking a beer. I just kept repeating “You can do this” in my head and thinking of putting that medal around my neck. It definitely helped!

Our friend Sarah told us to stop and take a photo at the highest point in the race, and the best way to express the never-ending hills is to show you these two photos, taken 30  minutes apart. The first one is where I thought the highest point was and the second one is actually the highest point.

I was so happy! Then, I realized that there was more of a climb to come....

I was so happy! Then, I realized that there was more of a climb to come….

The actual highest point!

The actual highest point!

After all the hills, all of the sudden there was an amazing downhill portion. It was about half a mile downhill, and although I normally don’t enjoy running downhill, I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to just let gravity pull me for a while. My IT band stopped hurting and I felt exhilarated!

Once we got on flat ground again, we ran through town and I was struggling a little again. We were at mile 11 or so, and I was just ready to be done. My knee started hurting again and I was just tired, but I wouldn’t let myself stop running. Shannon and I stopped talking and I just kept saying, “I can do this” over and over again. Finally, I ripped off my IT Band strap and miraculously, my knee stopped hurting. I just ran. We were on a straight away at this point, and there were spectators everywhere so I knew we were close. I just kept my eyes peeled for the “Finish Swine” as they call it and we finally saw it! It was glorious! We held hands at the finish and raised our hands above our head and just smiled! It felt so awesome to be done!

We grabbed our medals and headed through the recovery area to the finish line party. There was all kinds of food available for us for free, but nothing looked good to me. I saw Swiss Cake Rolls, which I thought looked good but I took one bite and threw it away. At this point, my knee was hurting so badly that I was limping so we made a bee line for the medical tent and I texted Zach that we were there. A very nice medic gave me a huge bag of ice and wrapped it tightly around my knee and we met up with our husbands.

IMG_6277

After we got to the Finish Line party, I bought a chili dog and a beer. Two things have never tasted so delicious!

Beer at 9:30 am!

Beer at 9:30 am!

After that, we had to walk to our hotel. I can’t tell you how much that hurt! My knee was throbbing and it was a long walk. But, I really think that helped cut down on my soreness (although I was pretty sore for the past couple of days).

IMG_6283

 

On the way home, I checked my email for our finish time. It’s definitely the slowest half marathon that I’ve done, but with all the hills, I’m pretty proud of that time. I can’t wait to run the (flat!) Marshall Half this November!

 

 

Advertisements

Healthy Habits I’ve Kept, and Healthy Habits I’ve Lost

27 Mar

After I lost the majority of my weight, I became obsessed with having as many ‘healthy habits’ as I could in order to maintain my weight. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve gained a bit of weight back. So, I thought I would highlight some of those healthy habits that I’ve kept and which ones I’ve lost in the past year or so. I would like to get most of these healthy habits back, so I’ll say it, then I’ll do it!

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept: Eating a healthy breakfast.

breakfast

I’m actually great about eating a healthy breakfast. I always manage to get a good balance of protein, carbs and fat, and I always get some fruit and/or veggies in there as well (definitely try peas on your eggs if you haven’t already). Unfortunately, it’s usually lunch and dinner when I fall off the wagon. I haven’t been very good at bringing snacks with me to work, so by lunch time and dinner, I’m starving and I end up eating way too much. I can definitely improve in this area by snacking smart.

Healthy Habit I’ve Lost: Taking the stairs

My office is on the third floor, and I used to be religious about taking the stairs every single time. Well, I’ve definitely lost this healthy habit. Starting today, however, I decided that I’m banned from the elevator. I think I can improve here by giving myself some sort of stair related reward. A star chart in my office? A weekly stair climbing goal? I’ll think on this, but in the meantime if you have any suggestions, I’ll take them.

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept: Running

So grateful for this one!

running

I’m training for the Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, and I’ve been pretty great about sticking to my training plan. I’m definitely going to stick with it! I’ve also purchased two five-class passes for a local yoga studio, so I’m definitely getting my yoga in. The only thing that is suffering fitness wise is weight training. I have no interest in doing even a short body weight or free weights exercise lately. I don’t know what my deal is. I can improve here by making a workout plan each week that includes a yoga class, running and one or two strength sessions.

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept/Lost: Counting Calories

This one is a toss up. Although I’ve been logging my food religiously, I’ve gotten in the habit of ignoring things like cocktails and sugary creamer in my coffee.

IMG_5789

Green beers on St. Patty’s Day

I know these things add up – to a lot – but I’ve been having trouble tossing them and not logging them at all is absolutely terrible. I can improve here by logging these things so I can see the damage I’m doing to my healthy lifestyle, and hopefully cutting back on these things.

Healthy Habit I’ve Lost: Walking

It’s been a long winter, huh?

image (6)

I used to walk Frank every morning and walk home from work every evening — and that was the very least amount of walking I would do every day. Since we’ve moved to the new house, I haven’t been walking to or from work because it’s a bit farther. But, as I learned during some nice weather we had last week, it’s not too far to walk. It turns out that it is exactly 2 miles from my office to our front door, and it’s a nice walk through the park and everything.

As for walking Frank, I’m going to commit to start walking him in the mornings again. The reason that stopped is mostly winter. It’s been dark until after we leave for work, and the evenings have been cold. I walk him when I can — but I need to do it more often. We both need the exercise. While I’ve kept up very long walks on the weekends (we usually do 3-4 miles most weekend days), he deserves a walk every single day.

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept: Drinking water all day

image (16)

I have a water glass at my desk that gets filled every time it’s empty. I’ve kept up with my all day drinking water habit, although I tend to slip a little during the weekends. Although I’ve kept up this habit, I could definitely improve.

I think, overall, I can see where I’ve been slipping in these healthy lifestyle habits. I need to keep up with these things in order to stay healthy and happy. I mentioned my weight gain at the beginning of this post, but really I just want to keep my healthy habits up so I can live my best life. I do feel that I became a little obsessed with these habits after I lost the weight, but now I feel like I’ve become too complacent with them. I’d like to find a happy medium. As I’ve mentioned before, I am perfectly content with my body right now.

Do you commit to healthy daily habits? Which areas can you improve on? Which habits are you keeping up with?

That Time I Did Two Races in One Weekend

25 Feb

Last week, I did something crazy.

Every winter, there is a local “Winter Series” of races held in Barboursville Park: a 3 mile, 4 mile and a 5 mile race. I’ve never signed up for the full series (but I’d like to next year), but one of the races always seems to catch my eye. Last week, I noticed that the weather was supposed to be perfect over the weekend, the 5 mile race was happening on Sunday and it just so happened that my long run in half-marathon training was 5 miles exactly. After hitting up my fellow trainees on Facebook, I got a partner and paid the $15 for the race registration.

5 miler

 

It may seem crazy to pay $15 to run a scheduled training run, but I find the race atmosphere to be considerably motivating. I knew if I paid money, I would run and I would try hard!

Then, something kind of crazy happened. My friend Sarah posted on Facebook about signing up for the Marshall Recreation Center’s Indoor Triathlon, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, and despite the fact that I hadn’t been in a pool or on a bike in over a year, I immediately signed up. Pretty much right after doing so, I had a bit of a panic attack — a triathlon one day and a five mile race the next, on top of the fact that we had planned a surprise party (at my house!) for my sister-in-law’s boyfriend and I had a few other things on my to-do list!? I knew it was a lot, but after I paid good money I wasn’t about to back out. I pretty much put it out of my mind until later in the week. On the days leading up to the race(s), I took a couple of back-to-back rest days and just tried to relax. Then, on Friday I realized that I had no idea where my goggles were and I didn’t know if my TYR swimsuit even would still fit, considering I purchased it when I was twenty pounds lighter. I went to pick up my packet for the tri, and realized that the little equipment shop at the gym didn’t sell goggles. Uh oh.

I woke up bright and early on Saturday on a mission to get everything ready. I went to Wal Mart and found goggles, a swim cap and some fuel (energy jelly beans!), pulled out my old TYR suit (still fit, sort of) and packed my bag as best as I could.

photo 1 (6)

The triathlon, luckily, was a very short distance: 300 m swim, 8 mile bike (on the spin bike) and 2 mile run (on the treadmill) and the transitions would not be timed. I knew I would be able to finish everything, so I went into it just wanting to finish and have fun. When I signed up for the race, they asked me to estimate my swim time in order to set up heats. Since I hadn’t been in the pool for ages, I had no idea what to estimate, so I over-estimated — by a lot. That meant that everybody I knew was in a lower heat than me. I waited around for nearly two hours to get in the pool. Luckily, that meant I got to watch everybody else and got some good pointers.

Sarah rocking the 300 m swim.

Sarah rocking the 300 m swim.

One thing I noticed was that a lot of people went out very fast and ended up having to switch to breast stroke or back stroke to catch their breath. I knew I would have to do this eventually (breathing while swimming isn’t a strength), but I knew to rein it in a little at the start to not wear myself out too quickly. When it came time for my swim, I had just downed my energy jelly beans (those things are great!) and I was ready to go! I ended up swimming a lot faster than I expected with a finish time of 6:09! I was very happy with that time.

Next up was the bike. Since transitions weren’t timed, I should have taken a bit more time between skills. I was so amped up that I rushed up to the bike and hopped on immediately. I ended up finishing the bike in a decent time — 14:26, but when I got off the bike I had a side stitch. Again, I should have taken some time to breathe, but I was in a hurry to finish so I hopped right on the treadmill.

tri finish

I ended up running the two miles slightly slower than I had hoped, and ended with a total time of 40:53. I was very proud of this because I didn’t train at all, and this is my very first time attempting a three-sport race, or even doing three different sports in one workout! I definitely want to do this again. I’m hesitant to say that I’ll try a triathlon, because the gear needed is pricey, but I will definitely sign up for the indoor event again. It was very fun!

After the triathlon, I was busy, busy. Zach and I had to run some errands, I had a workshop to attend, and I had to do some straightening up since we were hosting a party that evening. Needless to say, I didn’t make through much of the party before heading to bed — I was so tired! Not to mention, I had  a five mile race the next day….

I woke up on Sunday not feeling so hot. So, I made waffles and vegged on the couch. I could see out my big front window that the weather was getting nicer and nicer, so I texted my friend Shannon to make sure she was still in for the race. She was, and though I thought of backing out, I pulled on some running clothes and headed out the door. The weather was perfect. It was like we were meant to run that day, because about an hour after we finished the rain started and then it turned to snow.

I won’t go into much detail about the race, just that Shannon and I both just treated it as a training race. We both ran with our music on low and talked the whole time, running just under an 11 minute mile pretty much the whole time. The course was great, and it was a change of pace from our usual long run courses, so that was helpful. We ended up finishing in just over 55 minutes, which was confusing to us because our GPS was telling us we were running under an 11 minute mile the whole time. Then, when we both looked at our devices after the race, they both said that we ran about 5 and a quarter miles. So I don’t know if our GPS devices were off or if the race course was long. At any rate, we finished and felt great. Plus, pizza!

5 mile run

 

I think all races should have pizza at the finish line!

So, I finished two races in two days and I lived to tell the tale. I’m glad I did it, but by Sunday night I had trouble keeping my eyes open.

Question of the Day:
Have you ever done a triathlon? Did you love it? 

A Spring-Like Weekend

13 Jan

We had amazing weather this weekend, and I really took advantage of it.

Yes, we take walks in the cemetery.

Yes, we take walks in the cemetery.

I think I mentioned here before that the one problem with our new house was the lack of sidewalks around the neighborhood. Lucky for Frank, we’ve figured out a solution. It turns out that there is an entrance to the Spring Hill cemetery only half a mile from our house, so we’ve been taking advantage of it every time we get the chance. The cemetery is huge and has lots of hills, so it’s perfect for long walks. It may seem kind of weird to walk in a cemetery, but it’s actually very peaceful and seems to be a popular route for walkers (there are lots of garbage cans for Frank’s waste bags). Don’t worry, we’re very respectful and stick to the walking paths.

Frank certainly enjoyed it. When he yawns, it means he's having a good time.

Frank certainly enjoyed it. When he yawns, it means he’s having a good time.

After our walk, I got to work on this weekend’s January Cure challenge: Tackling the kitchen. As it turns out, the kitchen was the part of the house that I picked for my ‘big’ goal for the challenge, so I was excited to get to work. I started by moving everything from the counter-tops to the dining room table:

photo 1 (4)

 

Then I got to work scrubbing the counter-tops, cleaning out the fridge and wiping down the cabinet fronts. Once the initial scrub was done, I re-organized everything on the counter-tops and re-organized the inside of the cabinets. Ok, you know how to clean a kitchen so I won’t go into too many details. Here’s the finished product:

photo 2 (4)photo 4 (1)

The funny thing is, I know how to clean a kitchen too, but it’s incredible how dirty a kitchen can get when you only “surface” clean it. I definitely will keep this in mind next time I do my daily kitchen cleaning. The worst part was the refrigerator — wow. After this challenge is over, I’m going to make a list of things that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly and annually — that refrigerator is going on the monthly list. I guess you just don’t notice  how icky it gets until you take everything out and start scrubbing. After all was said and done, I got a smile on my face every time I walked into the kitchen. I love having a clean home!

Now that the kitchen has been tackled, I need to get another “big” project for the remainder of the challenge, so I’ve decided to tackle our storage spaces. We have a pantry located directly outside of the kitchen that has become a dumping ground, and despite having shelves in our basement, everything is just tossed down there. So my goal is to get those spaces under control. I think once all is said and done, this challenge is going to make such an improvement on our home.

The other task for this weekend was to shop for ingredients and make a nice meal. I put that off to do sometime this week, because Zach wanted to get out of the house for dinner last night.

The weather this weekend was top notch in Huntington. I mentioned our Saturday walk (I wore capris and a light jacket!) and then on Sunday, I had a training run planned with a few friends. I wore a running skirt and a light jacket and felt great the whole time. Yay for nice weather in the middle of winter! Frank went with me on the run:

photo 2 (3)

 

He’s not the best training run partner, but I know he appreciated the exercise. So far, half marathon training is going super well, so I’m grateful for that. After the training run, my healthy and productive weekend gave way to a dinner out (hot wings – yum) and some couch time with the husband and The Golden Globes.

Question of the Day:
How was your weekend? 

 

What to do When Your Pants Won’t Fasten

2 Jan

Wear a dress and tights. Done and done.

….just kidding. Honestly though, it’s the first (ok, second, but yesterday doesn’t count, right?) day of the year, and it’s time to be brutally honest with myself: My pants don’t fit anymore. The ironic part of this is that when I got out of the shower this morning, I thought I looked pretty good, but as soon as I pulled on the Gap khakis (size 8) that I purchased just a few months ago, my self esteem took a nose dive. Not only did they not fasten, but I could barely pull them past my hips.

I've fully embraced the "leggings as pants" trend anyway

I’ve fully embraced the “leggings as pants” trend anyway

I’ve said this on some social media site recently, so forgive me for repeating myself, but the Newlywed 15 is more nefarious than the Freshman 15 because I have less free-time than I did in college and I don’t have 24 hour access to a fitness facility. I’m afraid to step on the scale, because I think the Newlywed 15 is more like the Newlywed 20 and if you’re anything like me, seeing those numbers is a recipe for feeling terrible about myself.

I’d like to make a disclaimer here about weight loss. It’s a tricky subject, isn’t it? On one hand, we all want see a certain number on the scale or fit into a certain size, but on the other hand, we all want to enjoy life and not have to worry about cutting portions or watching what we eat. It’s important to keep that balance. I firmly believe that it’s important to not obsess about weight — it never leads to a good outlook on life. However, it’s also important to not let your weight get out of control, because health.

The good news is that it’s January, and that means that everyone is trying to get healthy. New apps are emerging, my beloved Weight Watchers just introduced a fun new plan, and there will be a lot of people to share with me a commitment to getting healthy. So, without further ado:

Six Ways to Fit in My Pants Again

  1. Limit alcohol — Things have gotten a little boozy in the Browning household, and that’s got to stop. Not only for my waistline, but for my health. Last night, I couldn’t sleep , so I started reading The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, which is an excellent book. If you have trouble sleeping, losing weight, have a low sex drive, are losing more hair than you think you should — pretty much anything — you should probably pick up this book. Hormone imbalance is more of a problem for women than men and Dr. Gottfried’s holistic and medical approach to balancing your hormones is pretty fascinating. Anywho, what this has to do with limiting alcohol is that I took some of the quizzes in the book and the hormone imbalances that I seem to fit into (high cortisol, low progesterone, high estrogen) all recommend severely limiting alcohol. Good for my health, good for my waist.
  2. Keep a Food Journal — Ugh, this. This is where I’m going to struggle. Listen, I kept a strict food journal for years people, so every time I think I should start again I get this little voice in my head that says, “NO! NO! Please don’t maaaaaake me!” — but here’s the thing: The years that I kept the journal? I lost 70 lbs and kept it off. So guess what? It works. Suck it up, Browning! (aww, isn’t that cute — it’s the first time I’ve derogatorily called myself by my new last name)
  3. Learn to sleep again — Good health and weight loss isn’t JUST about food and exercise. I’ve struggled with insomnia in the past, and up until recently, I thought I had it licked — but about one to two nights a week, I’m laying in bed wide awake until 1 or 2 in the morning. The specific way I’m going to handle this is no more phone in bed. I’m the worst about staring at my phone while I’m laying in bed, and although usually I can fall asleep despite that, I know it’s not good for my sleep patterns. So, from now on the phone isn’t going to even be by my bed — I’m going to plug it in across the room. However, I’m allowing myself the Kindle in bed. I need to read in bed.
  4. Drink more water — I used to be very good at this too, but I’ve noticed that while I still drink water while I’m at work all day, I don’t drink nearly as much at home.
  5. Move more — I haven’t put any exercise related steps in here, because I’m pretty happy with my current exercise level – I’m working out 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I don’t want to push it more than that because I want to be able to run without injury. I do need to incorporate more yoga and strength training, but that will come in time (especially since I don’t want to run on non-training days). By move more, I mean taking Frank for more walks, getting out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off for some light calisthenics or stretching, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, and making sure to get out of my desk chair every 30 minutes.
  6. Keep myself accountable — I need to keep blogging. I need to keep blogging. If you read this (maybe nobody does) and you notice me slacking off, ask me about it. Liz, if you’re reading this, you are the reason I started back up again 😉 Even if nobody reads my blog, it works to keep my honest about my healthy efforts.

I’ve already started some changes that I’d like to tell you about:

training journal

 

Sorry for the dark iPhone photo, but I purchased the Runner’s World Training Journal. I’ve found digital mile tracking (with apps like Nike+, a Garmin watch and/or just keeping track of my treadmill miles on my phone) to be incredibly convenient, but with so many different methods of tracking, it’s hard to see the big picture of my training. So I’ve decided to try to keep track of all of my miles in this book for 2014. I’ll do a full review of this training log once I’ve used it a  bit more.

green smoothie

Green smoothies! These are all the rage, aren’t they? (P.S. I maintain that you can be successful in weight loss and still eat bagels, thank you very much #notafraidofcarbs) My bestest friend Allison was generous enough to give me a Ninja blender for a wedding gift and man, I love that baby. The above green smoothie had banana, apple, cucumber and collard greens if you can believe it. Plus half a squeezed lemon and some water to thin it out. It was delicious (and nutritious). I’d really like to start incorporating more of these into my diet.

run with Frank

Outdoor running! Yesterday, the weather was amazing — 50 degrees and sunny — the perfect outdoor running weather, so I took Frank out for my training run and then we walked to the dog park and home. We both got a good amount of exercise in and we felt great afterwards. The weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse here in the next couple of days, but I’d really like to take advantage of these good weather days when they come around.

So, that’s that. My pants don’t fit — but I have a plan. To be honest, I don’t really care about looking “hot” or getting a “beach body” — my priorities have changed. I figure if I can keep myself feeling comfortable in the clothes I have, then I won’t have to worry about my weight spiraling out of control.

Question of the Day:
How do you know when you’ve gained a few pounds? 

 

Failed New Year’s Resolutions (and why that’s ok)

30 Dec

I’ve found a trend in the healthy living blog-o-sphere lately, and that is the non-resolution. Several blogs I read are bucking tradition and opting instead to focus on little changes. I totally get it, because statistics show that only 8% of people who make resolutions stick to them! New Year’s resolutions have gotten to be some what of a joke, and I myself have fallen into the trap of planning big on December 31st only to fall flat by March.

Image source: http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/30/new-years-resolutions-are-bad-for-you/

Click image for image source

However, I do feel there is something to be said for New Year’s Resolutions, even if you don’t always stick with them. If you’ve read this blog before (or you go back in the archives) you can see that one of my resolutions last year was to run 600 miles. Well, to make a long story short: I didn’t. However, I did run a lot more than I would have if I hadn’t made the resolution. You see, somewhere around June, my priorities changed and it didn’t seem as important — I joined Crossfit, and I wouldn’t change that experience. My fitness interests wax and wane, and now that I’m no longer a member of a Crossfit box, I’m more focused on running and yoga — and I’m enjoying every minute of my fitness pursuits.

Another New Year’s resolution I had last year was to run another half-marathon, shooting for a PR. Another failure, but again – I’m ok with it. I saw my opportunity to run a half-marathon this year come and go, and I think I made the smart decision to abstain this time. I hadn’t trained properly, and although I probably could have finished the 13.1, I wouldn’t have gotten a PR and I might have aggravated my IT Band injury from 2012.

So despite these failed resolutions, I’ve still progressed. And both of those goals are still within my reach, and here are three reasons why:

1. I got a treadmill!

<3 <3 <3

My awesome husband got me this baby as a Christmas/Birthday present and it’s wonderful having it in the house. It’s so much easier to hop on the treadmill if the weather is bad, and if I just don’t feel like working out, it’s easy enough to hop on and try it out. Usually I’ll just end up finishing a mile or two and that’s better than nothing. I’ve set my yoga mat out right next to the treadmill to remind myself to always stretch afterwards!

2. New shoes!

Hello, lovely.

Hello, lovely.

I love these shoes. They are the Asics Gel Nimbus 15, which is the same model I got last  year, but these feel so much better somehow. The man at the running shop really showed me how they will bring my knees in and help with my IT band issues.

3. The biggie — I did this this weekend:

flying pig

My first out-of-town half marathon! This could be the PR that I’ve wanted for so long (2:00 or under) — although I’ve heard it’s hilly! I’ve got some friends (including veteran marathoners) who I’m training with and we’ve already started (we’ve got 19 weeks). I’m super stoked to be doing this.

I guess the moral of the story is this: Even though you may not reach your goal by December 31, 2014, don’t give up on it. The other moral of the story is: Don’t be afraid to fail, because you might learn something if you do.

Question of the Day:
Do you make New Year’s Resolution? Why or why not? What’s your resolution for 2014? 

The Graduate

28 Jun

Well, it’s almost that time. I’m almost a full-fledged Crossfit member!

onramp

 

I’d like to do a full review of the On Ramp class, because I really think that people need to know what it’s like. I feel like there are two camps of people: One group who see “Crossfit” and think they aren’t ‘fit enough’ to do it, and another group who thinks the On Ramp class won’t be a good enough workout. Prior to signing up for the On Ramp classes, I wasn’t brand new to Crossfit, and there were several people in my class who were pretty new to working out in general. I feel like we all benefited from the On Ramp month equally, and that really was amazing to me.

Although I wanted to take the On Ramp class, I’ll admit that I was a tiny bit worried that I would be bored, or I wouldn’t get a great workout. I was definitely wrong on all fronts. The instruction on form was unparalleled in the class. I think the form on my Olympic lifts has improved about a million percent or something from going to the classes. The coaches are so focused on your form, and there was never a moment where they didn’t work with someone until they got it right. Coach Zack and Coach Katie were so good at explaining the form, and there was never a disconnect — even when we had Coach Jeremy or Coach Brad, they explained the form the exact same way, so you know that they are well trained. Their main goal is for you to do the lifts the right way and prevent injury. I have a very bad habit of using my lower back too much on my deadlifts, and every time I did that in class, the coaches were right there to correct it. Very, very helpful.

As for those who think they aren’t fit enough to do Crossfit, my favorite quote that one of the coaches said during On Ramp was, “You get in Crossfit shape by doing Crossfit.” — enough said.

If you’re thinking about doing Crossfit, and you think it’s something you would enjoy, I can’t recommend this On Ramp class enough. I don’t care what fitness level you are, you will never feel uncomfortable or new. The coaches and members are super friendly, and it never felt ‘clique-ish’ which is one thing I was worried about. If you do decide to try the On Ramp class (the next one starts Monday, July 8th), please mention that I sent you! The first week is free, and I’ll get a free t-shirt if I recommend someone! 🙂

At yesterday’s class, Coach Jeremy gave us the go ahead to attend a ‘real’ WOD this morning, so I jumped at the chance — Benchmark Friday!

Today’s WOD was Nancy:

Photo Jun 28, 6 38 13 AM

 

…and like a big kid Crossfitter, I got a photo on the Facebook page:

1013801_10151514038382536_1179196042_n

 

It’s pretty fun seeing myself doing something like that! I used 35 lbs total — not even close to Rx, but I’m ok with it. Overhead Squats are no joke. I felt very shaky the whole time with the 35 lbs, but I was able to do the 15 unbroken each round, so I think I picked an appropriate weight. I finished the WOD in 17:21, which is about 3.5 minutes per round. Not bad — definite room for improvement, but a solid attempt at a first Nancy.

Photo Jun 28, 6 38 16 AM

 

One thing I love about Crossfit is, even though everyone puts their times on the board at every WOD, it never feels like you’re competing with anyone but yourself. Trying to out-do that last time or setting yourself up for something you know that will challenge you is the main goal, and there is never any question. I never worry about being the slowest one, or using the lightest weight — I just focus on proper form and working as hard as I can. I totally get it now, I get why people are so Crossfit-obsessed!

Ok, while I was re-reading this post to edit it, I realize I sound like a Crossfit cheerleader, but I want to assure you that I’m not being paid to do this or anything. I really just enjoy the program that much!! ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I know I haven’t posted in a while, so I just wanted to mention that I ran in the WV 5k Championship this past Saturday and share one of the official photos from the race:

Photo courtesy of Mark Webb Photography (I was given permission to share this photo)

Photo courtesy of Mark Webb Photography (I was given permission to share this photo)

I was so disappointed in my official race photos last year, but this one more than makes up for it. Love it! More importantly, despite the heat and humidity that day, I was able to eek out a PR of 27:13! That’s a 33 second PR, if you’re counting (and I am!)

Unfortunately since the race, I haven’t logged much mileage. I’m about to eat my words and cancel my gym membership to focus on Crossfit, so I’m not going to have access to a treadmill for a while in this heat and humidity, so it all depends on how often I’m able to get out there.

Question of the Day:
Would you ever give up your gym membership?